Internal Corporate Brand 990475/ ¢  brand building process, i.e., the brand audit, brand

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Transcript of Internal Corporate Brand 990475/ ¢  brand building process, i.e., the brand audit, brand

  • LICENTIATE T H E S I S

    Luleå University of Technology Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences

    Industrial Marketing & e-Commerce Research Group

    2006:68|: 02-757|: -c -- 06 ⁄689 -- 

    2006:68

    Internal Corporate Brand Building - Case Studies of Three Swedish Service Firms

    Ted Karlsson

  • Abstract

    The brand is often mentioned as the most valuable asset for a firm, and this is especially true for the brand that bears the company name, i.e., the corporate brand. This study’s research problem “what are the major components of internal corporate brand building in service firms?” is justified both by the potential of the corporate brand to create value for the service firm and its stakeholders, and by the lack of research in this area. Internal corporate brand building refers to the activities that occur before implementation. Furthermore, the corporate brand is often the major brand in service firms, and a strong brand will help the firm to overcome the problems caused by the characteristics of services, such as intangibility, inseparability and heterogeneity. The research problem was divided into two research questions, focusing on the brand building process (Research Question 1) and the brand team involved in the process (Research Question 2). The thesis adopted a qualitative research approach and case studies were conducted in three Swedish service firms. The data was collected mainly through personal interviews with the marketing manager in each firm, but secondary data such as internal documents and the annual report was also used.

    The findings support the general framework, although some minor differences were found. Most of the elements found in each step of the internal corporate brand building process, i.e., the brand audit, brand identity and brand position, were supported by previous research. Also, the comparison across cases revealed both differences and similarities. For instance, all firms wanted to strengthen the corporate brand in their brand portfolio (although only one firm used the corporate brand), by reducing sub-brands and by updating their brand identity and brand position. All firms also had associations they wanted to remove from and associations they wanted to add to their corporate brand. The brand team was identified in the three cases, and it was divided into a core brand team and an extended brand team. A formal reference group of employees could, for instance, be identified in the extended brand team, which assisted the core brand team in the brand building process. The marketing manager was identified as the brand champion in two of the three cases. The CEO was also part of the brand team, but did not have the central responsibility of the corporate brand that was suggested in the literature.

  • Acknowledgements

    This work could not have been completed without the support of several special people.

    First, I thank Professor Esmail Salehi-Sangari for giving me this opportunity to conduct research at the post-graduate level. You have provided me with valuable guidance and have kept pushing me towards the finishing line. Thank you again Esmail!

    Many thanks to my wonderful supervisor Åsa Wallström, who has given me invaluable support throughout the research and writing process. Our meetings have clarified many things, and your professional advice and social skills make it rewarding to work with you.

    I am also fortunate to have worked with inspiring and helpful colleagues in the Industrial Marketing and e-Commerce Research Group. I sincerely want to thank all of you for your feedback and advice. A special thank you goes to Lennart, Lars- Ole and Lars, who helped me when I was struggling early in the process and to Lena for your valuable help.

    I also want to thank the respondents for sharing your valuable time and for your willingness to provide me with useful information. Also, thank you Markus for giving me access to one of the companies.

    Finally, I want to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to my beloved family, Jennie, Moa and Maja. Jennie, I will always remember your amazing job with our twins. Without your effort and patience, I would not have been able to complete this work. This work is as much yours at it is mine. Moa and Maja - you bring me happiness and I always smile when thinking of you. I feel fortunate to have the three of you in my life.

    Luleå, November 2006

    Ted Karlsson

  • Table of Contents

    1 Introduction and Research Problem

    1.1 Introduction ……………………………………………………...….…………...…………. 1 1.2 Background ……………………………………………………...………………………….. 2 1.3 The Corporate Brand …………………………………………..………………………….. 4

    1.3.1 The Corporate Brand in the Service Sector ………………..………………………………....6 1.3.2 The Value of the Corporate Brand …………………………………………………………. 7

    1.4 Building Corporate Brands and Service Brands ……………….…..………………….... 8 1.4.1 The Brand Building Process ……………………………………………………………….. 8 1.4.2 People Involved in the Brand Building Process …………...…………………………………. 9

    1.5 Research Problem …………………………………………….…..………………………... 9 1.6 Outline of the Thesis ……………………………………………..……………………....... 11

    2 Literature Review

    2.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………..12 2.2 The Corporate Brand ………………………………………………………………………. 13

    2.2.1 Corporate Brand Characteristics.………………………………………………………… …. 13 2.2.2 The Role of the Corporate Brand in the Brand Portfolio …………………………………...... 15 2.2.3 Corporate Brand versus Corporate Identity………………………………………………….. 17 2.2.4 The Corporate Brand in Service Firms …………………………………………………….. 18 2.2.4.1 Service Brand Characteristics …………………………………………………………….. 18 2.2.4.2 Delivering the Service Brand …………………………………………………………….. 20

    2.3 Key Brand Building Concepts ……………………………………………………………...20 2.3.1 Brand Perspectives ………………………………………………………………………… 21 2.3.2 Brand Equity….……………………………………………………………….…………. 22 2.3.3 Brand Identity.………………………………………………………………………….... 24 2.3.4 Brand Positioning ……………………………………………………………………….... 27

    2.4 The Brand Building Process ……………………………………………………...……….. 32 2.4.1 Corporate Brand Building Processes ……………………………………………………….. 39

    2.5 Service Brand Building Process …………………………………………………………… 45 2.5.1 Key Criteria when Building Service Brands ………………………………………………… 46

    2.6 People Involved in the Brand Building Process ………………………………………… 47

    3 Research Questions, Conceptual Framework and Conceptualization

    3.1 Introduction …………………………….………………………………………………….... 49 3.2 Research Question One ……………………………………………………………………. 49 3.3 Research Question Two ………………………………………………………………….... 50 3.4 Conceptual Framework …………………….…………………………………………….... 51 3.5 Conceptualization ………………………………………………………………………….. 54

    3.5.1 Research Question One …………………………………………………………………… 55 3.5.2 Research Question Two …………………………………………………………………… 62

  • 4 Methodology

    4.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………….. 63 4.2 Research Approach …………………………………………………………………………. 64 4.3 Research Strategy …………………………………………………………………………… 64

    4.3.1 Sample Selection …………………………………………………………………………. 66 4.4 Data Collection Methods ……………………………………………………………………68

    4.4.1 Data Collection ……………………………………………………………………………68 4.4.2 Presentation and Analysis of Empirical Data ……………………………..………………… 70

    4.5 Quality Criteria ……………………………….…….………………………………………. 71

    5 Empirical Data

    5.1 Introduction…………………………………………